We all need a mate

2017-09 MATES Blog 1 (2)

To call someone ‘Mate’ is a term of endearment in our Australian language. Our ANZACs and servicemen perhaps understand the term ‘mate’ at a deeper level than most of us will ever know.  We hear stories of ‘mateship’, forged in the horror of war, that endures for life.  A good mate is someone who stands by you through a difficult time – someone who is dependable, someone you can trust and in whom you can confide. 

The MATES mentoring program is appropriately named. For young people in our community today, life is full of pressures and challenges that can be quite overwhelming. The MATES Mentoring Program was developed to support young people through the challenges and to reduce the risk of disengaging from education. 

The program was developed right here in the Wimmera. It began as a pilot program at Dimboola Memoria Secondary College in 2010 and was further developed by the Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN, and rolled out to other schools across the Wimmera and the rest of the state. 

The program has proven, time and time again, the power of being a ‘mate’ and the difference it can make in the lives of the young people who participate in the program. 

The program is simple. An adult volunteer spends one hour a fortnight for one year, with a student in a local school. That is all it takes to make a huge difference in the lives of young people who need that extra person in their lives. It is almost too simple.  

We know the program works, we know it makes a huge difference in the lives of young people and we have many success stories that support these claims. 

Mentors say: 
“I really feel I am doing something valuable, my time will make an impact”
“When I visit my Mentee, I have five other kids asking to come with me!” 

Mentees say:
“Thank you for making me feel more confident.”
‘My mentor helped me to come out of my shell and now I feel not so scared talking to adults and older people.”
“My mentor has made me feel happier.” 

Schools say:
“The reality is that all students would benefit from a mentor.”
“We are a school of 560 students with at least 20 needing mentors now.”
“The student’s engagement and behavior has improved since being matched with a mentor.” 

Over 400 volunteer mentors have participated in the Mates Mentoring Program since its inception in 2010, which has made a significant impact on 400 young people in our community. 

The reality is that the challenges faced by young people are not going away or becoming easier, so there is an ever-increasing need to find more mentors. 

If you or someone you know could spend one hour a fortnight with a young person in a local school, please contact us at Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN. 

Contact us by email 
Phone 03 53810122

Or fill out an online application form now!